Rugby fans will be offered an early insight into the top table rivalries of European club rugby tomorrow (Friday 13 April, kick-off 7.54pm) when Edinburgh Rugby face fellow Heineken Cup semi-finalists, Leinster, at the RDS.
The capital clubs made the last four with home wins over Cardiff Blues and Toulouse in Dublin and Edinburgh respectively and now head into two rounds of RaboDirect PRO12 rugby, before returning to the penultimate round of Europe’s top tier cup competition.
Coincidentally the Dubliners follow tomorrow’s match with a trip to Belfast, where they will face Edinburgh’s European semi-final opponents, Ulster, while Edinbrugh head for Cardiff, completing a mini-series of top-class European rugby, in which the clubs will seek to retain their winning momentum.
Edinburgh will look to do so in the back yard of a side 11-points clear at the top of the PRO12 and just one win away from securing a coveted home play-off spot.
Speaking at today’s team announcement press conference, head coach Michael Bradley, said: “We face a very tough task in Dublin this weekend against a side who comfortably made the semi-finals for the fourth successive season.
“As league leaders and European pace-setters they will be keen make big statements between now and the continuation of their European title defence.
“What pleases me is that we go into the match off the back of two wins over quality opposition, Scarlets and Toulouse, from which we can take a lot of confidence.
“As a team we must acknowledge the effort and commitment required on those days and prepare appropriately for another significant challenge this weekend at the RDS.”
Bradley has made just one personnel change to the squad that toppled Toulouse, but has sought to refresh the front-line with five changes to the first fifteen.
Scrum-half Chris Leck is the only change to the back division, continuing where he left off in the Toulouse game, having replaced the injured Mike Blair (shoulder) at the interval.
Kyle Traynor replaces the injured Allan Jacobsen (face) at loose-head prop, with Esteban Lozada reintroduced to the squad to start alongside Sean Cox in the second-row.
Finally, the club’s healthy back-row options are rotated as Stuart McInally and Roddy Grant swap places with David Denton and Ross Rennie respectively.
Edinburgh Rugby team to play Leinster at the RDS tomorrow in the RaboDirect PRO12 (Friday 13 April, kick-off 7.45pm)
15 Tom Brown
14 Lee Jones
13 Nick De Luca
12 Matt Scott
11 Tim Visser
10 Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN
9 Chris Leck
1 Kyle Traynor
2 Ross Ford
3 Geoff Cross
4 Esteban Lozada
5 Sean Cox
6 Stuart McInally
7 Roddy Grant
8 Netani Talei
16 Andrew Kelly
17 Robin Hislop
18 Jack Gilding
19 Grant Gilchrist
20 David Denton
21 Ross Rennie
22 Phil Godman
23 Jim Thompson
Not available through injury: Mike Blair (shoulder), Ben Cairns (knee), Allan Jacobsen (face), James King (groin), Steven Lawrie (knee)